Monday, July 28, 2014

Cateran 110, Scotland, Norway and London Catch up!

Wow - it's been a busy fun filled couple of months! Finally, a chance to reflect on our adventures. In my last blog I mentioned we were on our way to Scotland for the Cateran 110 mile run and to celebrate with family Neil's 50th Birthday. Neil had a great run at the Cateran 110. 3 weeks after the trip to Scotland we returned to Europe to explore Norway and enjoy 4 nights in London. Between European vacations we participated in the Vancouver 100km event. I will highlight the adventures and Neil plans to do a race report of the Cateran - so stay tuned...his report hopefully will be coming soon!

At the start of the Cateran 110 The Spittal of Glenshee (which is also the finish). Neil is ready to go!
The crew (Graeme and I) stopped for some refreshments once Neil was well on his way. It's important the crew take care of themselves too!
Graeme and I stayed awake for the entire journey. We were fueled with several mugs of coffee throughout the night and day. Graeme was the official water boiler/coffee maker.
Neil at the finish of the 110 miles. He looks fresh as a daisy! Speaking with George one of the RD's.
The day after the run we met up with our niece Kendall and her husband Chris who were visiting Scotland for a week from Maryland, USA. We spent the week travelling around Scotland and celebrating Neil's 50th birthday. We are at Dunnottar Castle in this photo, a colleague of mine is having her wedding there next year - it's a spectacular place!
Once we were home we participated in the Vancouver 100 event. We did almost 50 km travelling from Cypress to Deep Cove. Our intentions were to meet up with our friend Craig who was planning on doing more than 150km on this route but he called it at 100km. I think that's plenty of km's on that course. It's one of my favourite events!
Mid June we returned to Europe where Neil was attending a conference in Norway. We seized the opportunity to explore Norway where my mother's side of the family is from.
 This photo was taken from a restaurant patio in Oslo, Norway at 11pm at night. It never got dark!

We travelled to northern Norway to the city of Tromso which is 350 kilometers north of the Artic Circle. While there we participated in the Midnight Sun Marathon (Half Marathon).

 We rented a car and explored the Northern coastline. It was spectacular with many quaint fishing villages. The weather was cool as you can tell by my beach wear!
We then travelled south to Stavanger where the conference was taking place. It was a colourful city with many waterfront restaurants. Stavanger is referred to as the Oil Capital of Norway. The city is often listed as among one of the most expensive cities in the world by various indexes. I enjoyed the window shopping!

The conference arranged a ferry ride/bus journey to hike Pulpit Rock. Neil and I joined in on this evening excursion. Pulpit Rock consists of a steep cliff which rises 1,982 feet above the fiord. The hike was more strenuous than I thought it was going to be for a bus load of people to undertake. Everyone made it back - Neil and I were one of the first which allowed us time for some refreshments before the bus/ferry return to Stavanger.
After Stavanger we had 4 nights in London which we always enjoy. Hyde Park is such a great place to run which we did every morning. We enjoyed a night out at the theatre with our nephew who lives there now. 
 We have had brilliant summer weather since we returned back to Vancouver. BC. The weather is  calling us to get back into some peak bagging. Bagger we go!


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cateran Taper - Cleveland Dam to Hollyburn return.

We are on our way to Scotland for the Cateran 110 mile trail event. Scotland's first official event of this distance. We have both completed the West Highland Way which is 95 miles (Neil 3x's and myself 2x's) but this will be the first official event over the 100 mile distance. Last year we both completed the Cateran 55 mile event together. This year the double loop was added - Happy Birthday Neil!  I will be crewing for Neil with his brother Graeme. I hear we will be crewing in a new BMW X3 so we will be crewing in style! ;-) I really enjoy crewing for long distance ultra events. It is such a magical journey for both the runner and the crew. The event starts at 6 pm which is a nice start time. There is a 28 hour cut off time - I think Neil will complete it around in 22-24 hours. It's so hard to guess when there are so many factors involved when travelling for an event.
Saturday we started at Cleveland Dam and climbed up to the top of the Hollyburn Chute on the Baden Powell trail. This is the route of the V100 which I hope to complete early June. Wow is it "up" in this section. It was an 1hr and 45 minutes of climbing on some rough terrain. It was good to familiarize myself with this section - I forgot how isolated and spooky it gets deep into the woods.
There must have been a horrendous noise when this tree snapped!
First snow patch we came upon - if we carried on we would have met plenty of snow which I think I will use my Kathoolas on race day to get through the snow sections.
Looking forward to our trip to catch up with family, friends and to participate in the Cateran 110 Event.  Kendall and Chris will be joining us from Baltimore after the run. We will be celebrating a special birthday for Neil that week. My gift to him was the Cateran 110 mile event. What a great gift! ;-)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Cateran and Vancouver 100 Training

We've been doing so much training - it's been hard to find the time to blog! ;-)
Easter Weekend we had 4 good days of training. We had a couple of long outings on the Baden Powell trail that the Vancouver 100 takes place on, some flat running and a 3 hour hike with Fergus on Easter Monday.

A section of the Baden Powell trail - it is rough and very eroded at times.

Some sections of the trail on Grouse is very eroded with sharp drop offs - don't look down! 

Rough but runnable in sections.

This weekend Neil did a solo 50km outing on the Diez Vista (his choice) to experience the journey on this own. He has completed 4 x 50 km runs in the last 2 months. Saturday, I did the climb out of Deep Cove to Mt. Seymour Road return to Deep Cove and then followed by a flat run around Burnaby Lake.

Neil doing a Selfie on the Diez Vista Course. The bay across Burrard Inlet is Deep Cove where I was for my run.
And from the other side......From the Baden Powell trail looking over to where Neil was on the Diez Vista  trail.
Unfortunately my run was diverted on the Burnaby Lake trail due to a Big Black Bear blocking the way. The bears are awake which definitely means spring is here!

More friendly creatures on the other side of the lake! Baby Canada Geese - mom was watching closely.

Today we had a good 2.5 hour run on the Lake View Trail at Buntzen Lake. Near the end of our run we were caught in a hail storm that was quite fierce. The hail hurt as it hit our bodies and we were  totally soaked. The weather this weekend was very unsettled from thunder showers, to hail to moments of warm sunshine.

Today on the Lake View Trail we came across this tree. It has been pecked to death by Wood Peckers.

We are looking forward to our trip to Scotland and the Cateran 110 mile event. I will be crewing for Neil with brother Graeme and Fiona. We have a couple more weekends of good training and plans for some longer mid week outings. We have been consistent with the training and weekly mileage. Our niece Kendall and her husband Chris will be joining us in Edinburgh for our final week in Scotland. We plan to visit Graeme and Fiona in Inverness area on the shores of Loch Ness. Neil is celebrating his 50th birthday on the 23rd of May. Nothing like the gift of a 110 mile event for your 50th!

Craig is in Vancouver next weekend for some Vancouver 100 training on the Baden Powell. Last I heard he was planning on doing more than a 100 km at Vancouver 100. It's an event where you can customize the distance. I have completed several distances over the years varying from 100 km to 25km but I've never considered doing more than the 100km. ;-)  It is a tough course, very gnarly with plenty of climbing on slow moving rough terrain. There are sections filled with snow which often require Yak Traks and poles. Last year after the Cateran we did 50 km. This year I am dreaming big for the full 100km. Happy Trails!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Good Training Weekend for the Vancouver 100!

This past weekend the weather was fantastic for mid April in Vancouver. The weather was so warm for the season there were "weather warnings". We tend to associate warnings with cold temps or high winds. The skies were blue with temperatures around 20 C. This set us up for some good training runs.

Saturday we decided to climb Black Mountain from Nelson Creek and do an out and back. This is the big climb which you do from both sides in the upcoming Vancouver 100. Black Mountain is at 4,000 feet with 3,550 feet of elevation gain in 7.7km from the Nelson Creek parking lot. The trail starts out in a nice wooded forest but soon turns into scree fields, boulders and a near vertical climb for quite awhile. I decided to try the journey with poles. I've noticed others using poles on this route. I found them helpful and on the way down went with just one pole to act as an extra appendage. The views at the top of Black Mountain were so clear and with it being so early in the Spring there were no bugs! We could sit and enjoy our lunch without being eaten alive by black flies or wasps!

Heading up the scree section with the poles.
Rough terrain.
Beautiful Day!
Interesting use of Baden Powell trail markers.
We came upon this |"Vancouver Canucks Fan Club Hat" on a rock. The Vancouver Canucks just finished one of their worse seasons ever. The fan must have laid the hat to rest.
 The  journey of up and down the mountain took us 4 hours and 15 minutes including our stay up top.
Baden Powell trail returning from Mountain Highway.
Sunday we enjoyed the Baden Powell trail from Grouse Mountain to Mountain Highway and then return to Grouse. Plenty of ups and downs on a very gnarly trail. 3 hours. 
Tonight after work we met Marla for a climb up the Incline trail in Golden Ears Park (1.2km up with 500 feet of elevation gain) with a nice run down the fire access trail.
 I felt tired tonight - oh but it's a good tired ;-)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Diez Vista

Saturday was the 50km Diez Vista Trail Run. It is a great event with the Race Director being my trail buddy Wendy Montgomery.  I was signed up but have had a bad chest cold the last few weeks and decided to not do it. It's always a tough decision what to do. Neil completed it in his consistent pace! Fergus and I slept in and then set out to meet up with Neil along the course. It was Fergus's first Ultra as a spectator. He thought all the runners were Neil - greeting them all with a big smile and ready for a kiss!

Thank-you Wendy for the arm sleeves - great gift!

 My focus now is the Vancouver 100km event in June. I have ramped up my training on the route which feels really good. It is a tough 100km but it is the type of terrain I really enjoy. With time as with all things in life you learn to know your strengths. I really prefer the mountain trails to the roads or flat running. The next while I will be focusing my training on the Baden Powell. The ski hills are still open so there are some sections of the course we cannot yet access but Spring is here! Neil is doing the Cateran 110 mile even in Scotland in May. Last year we completed the 55 mile event together...what a great journey through the area where the Ambrose family farm was. Neil is turning 50 just after the event and what a better way to celebrate a birthday! ;-)
The Daffodils are blooming!
And the Cherry Blossoms!

Cloud covered mountains but nice Cherry Blossoms in the foreground.
Happy Spring - V100 we go! ;-)

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Quick Trip to Toronto and Chuckanutt

This past week we enjoyed a quick trip to Toronto. Neil had a 1 day meeting and I had a day of retail therapy. The meeting sponsors hosted us at the CN Tower for a lovely evening. Wow - is it high! The 360 degree revolving restaurant where we spent the evening is at 351 metres (1,151 feet).
CN Tower
 View Down to the City
 That's Lake Ontario the blue mass of water as seen from the CN Tower
Neil on the glass floor at the tower - he didn't look down!
Saturday Neil participated in another 50km event, Chuckanut in Bellingham USA. He finished in about the same time as previous years he has run this event solo. We have done it together a few times as well.
Fergus and I out for a run at Buntzen Lake. No views in the rain and low cloud on Sunday.
Tonight when out for a run on the dykes we spotted this Eagle in the tree. Fresh snow on the mountains! I'm enjoying the extra hour of daylight despite the temperatures still being cool.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snow, Spring and the Dirty Duo

 This view of the local Mountains was taken last week from our front garden. The snow was plentiful!
 Which allowed more snow shoeing
 Evenings on the slopes.
Spring is here...the clocks have changed and the snow is receding. We enjoyed the extra hour of light tonight and went for a run on the dykes in Pitt Meadows with Fergus.
This past weekend Neil completed the Dirty Duo 50 km run in wet and muddy conditions. We have both completed this run several times over the years. Its a great prelude to the dawn of a new season of running and outdoor activities in the Lower Mainland.  His time was consistent with last years which he was pleased with.
Good news...Kendall (niece) and Chris (who are living in Baltimore, Maryland) are joining us for a week in Scotland after the Cateran 110 mile run. Neil is signed up in celebration of his 50th year!  I'm on the crew team for this one with Neil's family.  So......mileage and activities are increasing for both of us and it feels good!